A nutritionist at the Ghana Health Service is advocating a national policy on nutrition to save Ghanaians from food-related health challenges.

Deputy Chief Nutrition Officer, Esi Amoaful, says though several stop-gap policy interventions exist, there is urgent need to nationalize nutrition.

She says until Ghana prioritizes the issue of malnourishment and anemia in children, and the attendant socio-economic implication will persist.

Under-nutrition remains a major health challenge in Ghana, despite increased food production.

Children and women suffer most from the effects of the phenomenon, which impairs child’s immune system and exposes them to illness and death.

The 2011 Ghana Nutrition Profile Results, show that seven out of 10 pregnant women are anaemic, worse than what was recorded in 2003.

The Profile was designed to assess the consequences of under-nutrition to support advocacy and communication with policy makers, programme implementers and stakeholders.

It’s a tool that consists of a set of models reflecting on current day scientific nutrition knowledge.

The report also indicates the country could lose 720million Ghana cedis between 2011 and 2020 unless stunting is checked. This would be the cost of economic loss to the nation resulting from stunting.

The 2008 Ghana Demographic Health Survey also estimates 12,000 underweight children die each year.

Ninety-seven thousand will die of stunting-related conditions between now and 2020.

Prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women also recorded an increase from 65 per cent in 2003 to 70 per cent in 2008. Similar trends were recorded among non-pregnant women, enjoying a difference of 10 per cent higher.

The report however identified Vitamin A deficiency as a significant health problem, with 7 in every 10 children under 5-years as the most victims.

Though Madam Amoaful admits Ghana has chalked some successes with the pursuance of some nutritional policy interventions, she however wants integration of nutrition into all spheres of national planning with the needed resources to scale up implementation of intervention programmes.